Friday, May 29, 2015

When the Only One Holding You Back is You

You know those stories of folks who've made it through difficult adversity?  The stories that make people famous, or at least greatly respected?  The story usually mentions or even centers on the person's undying resolve to prove themselves or to prove others wrong.  Maybe there's no other way out or they've invested so much, they're at the point of do or die.

I've never been in a situation like that before.
I've traveled all over the world.  I was highly involved in both high school and college.  At times I pushed my work loads and extra curriculars until everything else became a haze, but I've never felt that extreme pressure, that heat from the crucible, until now.
What do you do when you feel like maybe you just can't do it (whatever it is)?
I'll tell you what I did.
I gave into the feelings of being overwhelmed.  I longed for what I wanted-rest, order, consistency, stability-and kept comparing what was in front of me with my poor expectations.  I felt sorry for myself and for what I'd gotten myself into and for what could possibly come next.  I began to worry.
All of that negativity swelled and grew until it was almost all I could see, and it was definitely all I could feel.  And all of those negative thoughts and feelings left no room for anything positive.

Caleb, my biggest cheerleader, had a proper sit down with me.  Many times.  At first, he asked me to talk through the problem, the hang ups, the fears, and the roots of all of these things.  Focusing deep and staring down what was really the matter helped the bigger and louder things quiet down for a while, but I had reached a point where I just didn't believe in myself, and I had lost the capability to change that.  It wasn't just a switch I could on.  I didn't even know where the switch was.

Then we talked through what was going right.  He asked me to point out the strengths in the midst of what I felt was a great weakness.  I had quite a few answers, which helped me lift my head, but when Caleb would bring it all together and say "You can do this," it still wasn't clicking.  My mind wasn't agreeing with what we'd laid out in front of us.

Finally, he said something I'd never thought I'd hear.  I was holding myself back.  And I was letting myself hold myself back.  I really had no idea how to stop this pattern, though, which was even more discouraging, but here's what Caleb said.  I needed to get angry.  Those stupid thoughts and harmful lies?  I needed to punch them in the face.  That worry I was holding about disappointing someone else?  Who cares about what they think!  The feeling of being overwhelmed?  Well didn't we lay things out nicely before, and didn't we find time where you have space to dance and cook and do your nails?  You're not really overwhelmed, Lindsay, not right now, but you've let yourself believe that you are.  It's time to change that, and you'd better change that, or you will crash and burn.

All of this happened this week, friend.  
What. A. Week.
All of this happened and was followed by moments of righteous anger, of feeling on top of things, of looking ahead to see what else I can tackle, and of feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.

I have done many things, but most of them have been safely within my capabilities.  I've been conditioned to see myself as invincible, and breaching the boundaries scared me really bad this week.  I don't want to give up.  At least not right now.  Not when I know I still have more to give, more to try, more to do.  If things change, that will be for another post, but in the meantime, I'll be wringing out these thoughts and feelings, and hopefully getting better at rejecting the ones that hold me back and replacing them with ones that push me forward.


  1. Yay! So proud that you've been able to accomplish so many things! I'm kind of in the same place, where I need to get angry at myself before I'll be able to really change things. I hold myself back a lot because of fear. Not good! Thanks for writing this!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement! It's been a weird struggle I didn't expect, and it took me a while to accept that this was what was actually happening, but it's helped me tremendously in the long run.

      Failure is such a harsh word, but really we're all works in progress, and giving ourselves permission to be unfinished, trying people can be so freeing.

      Much love and good luck moving forward!


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